Jesus Heals Many People
When Jesus arrived at Peter’s house, Peter’s mother-in-law was sick in bed with a high fever. But when Jesus touched her hand, the fever left her.
Then she got up and prepared a meal for him.
That evening many demon-possessed people were brought to Jesus. He cast out the evil spirits with a simple command, and he healed all the sick. This fulfilled the word of the Lord through the prophet Isaiah, who said,
“He took our sicknesses and removed our diseases.”
Matthew 8:14-17 NLT
The Cost of Following Jesus
When Jesus saw the crowd around him, he instructed his disciples to cross to the other side of the lake.
Then one of the teachers of religious law said to him, “Teacher, I will follow you wherever you go.”
But Jesus replied, “Foxes have dens to live in, and birds have nests, but the Son of Man has no place even to lay his head.”
Another of his disciples said, “Lord, first let me return home and bury my father.”
But Jesus told him, “Follow me now. Let the spiritually dead bury their own dead. ”
Matthew 8:18-22 NLT
My Thoughts: Okay, let’s be honest, how many of you gals were shocked (and maybe irritated) when directly after Peter’s mother-in-law is healed she gets up and makes Jesus and the disciples a meal? Maybe you said to yourself, “Can a girl get a cool drink of water and maybe have someone make her a meal? I’ve been sick, after all…” [Sheepishly raising my hand…:-/ )
Oooooh, we do that don’t we? We get a miraculous healing and/or a miraculous answer to prayer then we want ALL the attention to be on us and not on the one who just performed the miracle. To make matters worse, we grumble instead of having grateful hearts.
“IF” Peter’s M-I-L had ungrateful thoughts she pushed her feelings aside and obediently showed her gratitude to Jesus. That is a HUGE lesson for us! Remember, our feelings aren’t reliable, but The Lord sure is! So when He blesses us, let’s show our gratitude by looking for ways to serve and follow Him.
After Jesus dined we see him continue his faithful work with the people who were following him. He healed the sick and cast out evil spirits with a single command. Jesus wanted the people to see he had full authority over sickness, evil spirits, and sin.
What I love is that all of these miracles are a taste of what we (his faithful followers) will one day experience when Jesus returns. Are we ready? Are we living with grateful hearts giving glory to God? Have we established our priorities and are we faithfully keeping them?
“Praise the Lord! Praise the name of the Lord! Praise him, you who serve the Lord,” Psalms 135:1 NLT
“Never be lazy, but work hard and serve the Lord enthusiastically.” Romans 12:11 NLT
Jesus Teaches There Is a Cost of Following Him
One of the teachers of religious law had probably been following Jesus and watched many of his miracles. Perhaps in a moment of passion, he tells Jesus he will follow Him wherever he goes.
Jesus answers by simply letting this teacher know following Him meant making sacrifices, and one sacrifice could impact his personal comfort. Jesus specifically mentions a home when he cautions this teacher. We don’t know how the man responded to Jesus, but remember Jesus would have known his heart intimately. Perhaps Jesus saw a “conditional” heart in this man?
“Anyone who wants to serve me must follow me, because my servants must be where I am. And the Father will honor anyone who serves me.” John 12:26 NLT
Following Jesus is not always easy or comfortable, and it can come at a great cost or sacrifice. It can mean the loss of friends, popularity, leisure time, and we could even be asked to sacrifice everything and move to a mission field. However, the value of being a disciple of Christ has a lot of benefits towards our eternity. It’s a reminder of a lesson we learned in Matthew 6:19-24 about where out “treasure lies” (https://thywordmythoughts.com/2018/11/08/matthew-619-24/).
I also believe one of the benefits of following Jesus is he specifically uses the gifts and strengths he gives each of us (at birth) to advance the kingdom. As a servant I have been asked to do a lot of different things that involve serving in different capacities. Although some initially took me out of my comfort zone, because I used my gift I eventually loved every opportunity.
(Special Note: If you are seeking to know more about your own personal gift, there are many good books and classes, but my favorite book is “The Gift of Giftedness” by Tracy Goyne. It can be purchased on Amazon at https://www.amazon.com/Gift-Giftedness-Tracy-Goyne/dp/1724672177/ref=sr_1_2?ie=UTF8&qid=1547349635&sr=8-2&keywords=Tracy+Goyne )
In close, the last section seems like a harsh response from Jesus when the disciple asks to return home to bury his father. My Study Bible notes suggest that he might not have been asking to go to a funeral, but rather to be with his father until he died. Was his father sick, was he fearful his father wouldn’t approve of his decision to follow Jesus, or maybe there was an inheritance at stake? We don’t really know, but it is evident the disciple wasn’t ready to make a full commitment to follow Jesus and Jesus knew it.
Jesus was always direct with those who wanted to follow Him. He wanted them to be willing to give their complete loyalty. I think one of the hardest lessons I learned as a new believer is that family loyalty or relationships cannot come before our relationship with Jesus. The blessing is when we choose Jesus to be first in our life many of our relationships get stronger.
Sadly, it is also true some can become more difficult. I’ve been excluded from events and gatherings and some family or friends prefer to spend as little time with me as possible. Yes, it has been painful and heartbreaking but I will not change that I’ve chosen Jesus to be first in my life. Instead, I lay them (by prayer) in the arms of Jesus, who loves them even more than I do.
“The Lord is my rock, my fortress, and my savior; my God is my rock, in whom I find protection. He is my shield, the power that saves me, and my place of safety. He is my refuge, my savior, the one who saves me from violence. I called on the Lord, who is worthy of praise, and he saved me from my enemies.” 2 Samuel 22:2-4 NLT
Closing Prayer: Father God, I rejoice that You are my King! May I go forward always in strength and courage proclaiming this truth. Father I lift up those who refuse to bow the knee to You and ask for their hearts to be changed to crave a loving relationship with You as well. Thank You for the truth that You love them more than me, Lord. It is this truth that gives me peace as I wait for their hearts to change for You. In Jesus name I pray. Amen.